Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) can take information about the substrate’s surface and the particles that are synthesized on the surface. It is used to have a better understanding of surface morphology & shape of particulates which includes the coating. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) produces a large image by perusing the exterior of a specimen with an intense beam of electrons. The topology and structure of the particles are revealed and further insight can be brought through these techniques.


For the image creation, a concentrated beam of electrons had been emitted and bombarded on the surface which when reflected can be analyzed by the interface to identify the surface properties. Moreover, when the electrons collide with the specimen, multiple indications occur which have been applied to determine the structure & morphology of the substrate.


SEM scans a targeted stream of electrons to obtain augmented high-resolution images of an object. In contrast to Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs), the beam of electrons simply passes through the object in this method. An electron cannon emits and discharges electrons as they travel through the microscope, traveling through a sequence of lenses and apertures to form a concentrated stream that interfaces with the surface of the specimen. Even before the sample is collected on a stage in the microscope’s capsule, a vacuum is established in the chamber that used a succession of compressors. The vacuum pressure is determined by the microscope’s design; certain microscopes have been intended to work in low vacuum situations, which eliminates the need to empty the chamber. The location of the beam of electrons above the lens system is managed by scan coils. These coils allow the beam to scan throughout the sample’s surface, allowing data on a specific area to be collected. Secondary electrons, diffracted electrons, and distinctive X-rays are produced by the contact between both the specimen and the electrons, which are subsequently identified by sensors. Images are generated by the sensor and can be viewed on a screen.


The SEM is widely used in high images of objects’ shapes and to display wide heterogeneity in chemical constituents:

  • Primal map-based or pinpoint elemental analysis using Energy-dispersive.
  • Phase discriminatory practices compared to the mean atomic number using Breast self-examination.
  • Configuration maps based on wide variations in detectable component “catalysts” using CL.

SEMs had been always used to assess phases that have been associated with qualitative chemical analyses or degree of crystallinity. The SEM had also been used to determine the exact extremely small features and objects as small as 50 nm. Backscattered Electron Images had been used to quickly distinguish stages in multi-stage specimens. Micro-fabric and crystallography arrangements in an array of substances can be analyzed with SEMs combined with different backscattered electron sensors.

Instrumentation for SEM:

The following are necessary aspects among all SEMs:

·        Electron Source & Lenses

·        Sample Stage

·        Detectors for all relevant signals

·        Display output devices


Benefits of SEM:

  • Provides 3-Dimensional and topographic images that are very precise.
  • User-friendly technology that is simple to employ with training
  • Quick scans are possible
  • A minimum level of preparation is needed for specimens.


SEM samples are typically placed on aluminum tubes which are usually 12 mm or 25 mm in diameter with metallic sticky pads, conductive glue, and conductive copper tapes. On the SEM stage, stubs fit for 8 x 12 mm or 3 x 25 mm can be handled. Additional hanging steps can also be used for bigger or even more extraordinarily formed specimens.

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